Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Report: Bartender at Villa Cemita on Avenue A accused of sexual assault

A woman dining with four friends at Villa Cemita Sunday night said that she was sexually assaulted by an employee inside the Mexican restaurant's restroom, according to a published report at Gothamist. In addition, another woman in the group believes that she was drugged by one of the shots that the employee served her.

Ingrid Ostby, 31, a comedian, had been next door at the Upright Citizens Brigade on Sunday night. Afterwards, she and her friends went to Villa Cemita, 50 Avenue A between East Third Street and East Fourth Street.

She wrote about the incident on Facebook, a post which has been shared more than 500 times. Several of her friends forwarded a copy of the post to EVG. It reads, in part:

Toward the end of the meal, the "owner"/"manager"/"mixologist" kept coming over to our table, telling us he'd give us money off our next meal there because they're a newer establishment. We decided we'd brunch there next week after he offered 20 then 30 percent off of our next meal. How nice! He kept bringing us shots of tequila. Meg and I joked how cloudy one of the shots looked, that it might be roofied. But we thought, it's fine, we're safe. (A foolish thought for any woman.) He gave one of us a business card, or a gift card; we don't know. We just wanted to talk to each other, not him.

We each went to the bathrooms before we left. We left a generous tip. It was my turn to go to the bathroom. Single stall. I went in and kept thinking about jokes, about what he could want from us, from bringing us shots, three in total, four technically — one of us wasn't drinking so we split her shots. I dry off my hands, start to unlock the door, then the """"owner/manager/mixologist"""" pushes the door in to the very very small single stall bathroom and comes in, puts his hands on me (on my ass, around my waist), while saying, "I'm so glad you came in tonight" and puts his head toward me as if to kiss me. I go, "Are you fucking kidding me?" I push past him (how lucky, I can't imagine if he'd try to fight me — I'm admittedly weak), run to the table, rip the cash tip out of the bill. We decide to give it to the server (a woman) directly.

I leave because I'm shaken up, my friend goes and screams at him, the server yells at him to confess ... Sexual assault to any large or small degree is a very regular occurrence for women, so this is not to bring the attention to me or to gain sympathy. I don't need it. I — we — have worse things going on. What I need is for none of you to step foot in that place again. It is not safe for women.

The man was later identified as Omar Cuatzo, the son of the restaurant's owner.

Ryan Blanch, Cuatzo's attorney, gave Gothamist the following statement:

"Mr. Cuatzo, the bartender, vehemently denies any wrongdoing and looks forward to defending himself in a forum more suitable to the allegations than the social media and review sites chosen by the complainant. He has never before been accused of any similar conduct and looks forward to telling his side of the story at the appropriate time and place."

Ostby and her friend Megan Doherty, who believes that she was drugged, filed an assault complaint at the 9th Precinct yesterday.

Villa Cemita opened in March 2015. The restaurant was not open as usual last evening. An EVG reader said that a small sign is up inside the front door at the Upright Citizens Brigade warning patrons not to visit Villa Cemita.


Anonymous said...

Omar, you have a lot of explaining to do, and I'm not sure you are looking forward to it, despite what your attorney says

Mixologists Anonymous said...

You are as likely to get roofied by a bartender as anyone else. I have known several people who have been taken advantage of by bartenders who do this, so always keep your eyes open or the "mixologist" may mix something special into your drink.

Anonymous said...

One of the side affects of drinking a lot is you are easy prey to sexual predators and thieves. With the "spring break" makeover of the EV this kind of shit will happen more often, stay in control of your wits and don't become a victim this is still a big city and crime still happens here.

IzF said...

Guys/men do that kind of unwanted behavior all the time.
As a woman, I've gotten used to it sadly. It's good to know someone spoke up.

Anonymous said...

Note how when something truly awful happens, you don't see a fraction of the outrage that you do when some diner closes or a coffee shop opens.

Anonymous said...

Really, this happens to you so much you've got so used to it happening? So how many times have you, how many times have you been drugged and assaulted in the bathroom? Im betting zero. Stop being so sexist and labeling all guys/men as predators and in the process negating what happens to this lady so that you can play the victim card.

Anonymous said...

Thats not gonna be good for business.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this the restaurant that the community board challenged for serving hard liquor with just a beer and wine license? sounds like they are still serving hard liquor.

IzF said...

Hey Anon 11:50 AM: One woman was drugged and I wasn't referring to that specifically. And yes, I have been groped and touched many times especially in bars and as a service industry worker. So don't diminish my words or experience. I'm not playing the victim card at all. I also have been drugged, but only twice.
So you're bet on zero is a loss.

Giovanni said...

@IzF Ignore the trolls. Women are victimized far more often than then men. That said, I've been roofied at least twice -- the last time by a female neighbor who likes to drug men and rob them -- and I'm a guy. Women roofie men too, although the I'm sure it's much more common for men to do it both to women and to other men. Either way it's wrong and not something any of us should accept, it's a form of assault. It's also way too common among bartenders. When I was in Vegas years ago I observed a bartender using a milky substance he stored in a little fridge to spike drinks of selected gamblers. The house always wins.

nygrump said...

I'm guessing the owner of this place is having a heart attack right about now.

" Villa Cemita is a true family affair. Owner, Alejandra Aco has created a delightful menu, while her son, Omar and daughter, Doreli operate the front of the house."

Anonymous said...

Holy shit. I went there about a month ago for brunch. Had three glasses of sangria and ended up going home, puking my guts out and unable to get out of bed until the next morning. I assumed I was coming down with something as I can usually drink a lot more than that and be totally fine.

IzF said...

You have always mage me laugh hysterically and given me an insightful perspective on a particular situation.
But now I thank you for giving me comfort!
You rock!
So sorry you got roofied by a woman, WIERD and horrible.

Anonymous said...

I was starting to get takeout from there, but not anymore. In fact, we shouldn't tolerate this kind behavior in our neighborhood.

Giovanni said...

@IzF. Glad to oblige. The last time it happened, three hours went by and I liferally have no recollection of what happened. She must have slipped it into my drink when I went to the restroom, and suddenly it was three hours later and we were still sitting there with me feeling like a zombie. Luckily she didn't do anything else. At least I don't think so.

The first two times it was done by couples I knew who probably wanted a Bill Cosby experience, but luckily I and my dates were able to get away from them both times. They had also roofied each of my girlfriends who were with me on those 2 occasions, and they had the same adverse reactions. People are really sick sometimes, even close friends can't be trusted, much less a creepy bartender hellbent on having a bathroom quickie.

That said, does anyone know of a good happy hour around here where they don't slip roofies in your drink?

olympiasepiriot said...

Giovanni, may I suggest always ordering a bottle of wine or prosecco? That gets open in front of you and you get to control it.

Ridiculous that we have to take precautions like that, but there you have it.

I'm not much for buying gadgets, but I am waiting for this to hit the market in the US or for this to get beyond "development". (Here's an article about it.)

Pushing 50 with a broom now, still vividly remember being given a Mickey Finn back in the day and the asshole who did that discovered that I get violent when badly drunk...right in that sweet spot before puking like crazy. It wasn't what he was looking for.

Trixie said...

The Hi-Fi Bar has a very civilized Happy Hour. @Giovanni

Giovanni said...

Thanks Olympia. Good idea on the wine, and those gadgets sound like a winner if they ever hit the market.

There was a big article in NY Magazine about roofies a couple of years ago, which claimed it is much more common then people think, The usual naysayers said it wasn't so, until many more people came out to say it had happened to them too, and bartenders were often the culprits. Then the Bill Cosby scandal happened, and revealed how these predators operate. I'm. Glad you got revenge on that guy, and I hope his last name was Cosby.

@Trixie. Thanks for the tip! I'm still looking for the next Global 33, let me know if that even exists.